Posted by: bkivey | 23 July 2010

Best of the Web Pt. 1

One of my favorite bloggers is James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal and his “Best of the Web Today” blog (link on the right). Mr. Taranto actually calls his daily publication “. . . a daily column in blog format.” While I don’t always agree with his politics I do appreciate his sense of humor as he trolls cyberspace with the help of his readers to cull the title material.

I’ve been collecting tidbits from his column/blog that I’ve enjoyed. So let’s turn the wayback machine to 2003/2004 for a few examples. All work is Mr. Taranto’s unless noted.

23 January 2003

Hispanics Hit the Big Time

Guinness, call your office. There’s a new record for biggest minority in America, and it’s held by Hispanics, CNN reports:

The Latino population grew to 37 million in July 2001, up 4.7 percent from April 2000. The black population increased 2 percent during the same period, to 36.1 million. . .

Hispanics now comprise nearly 13 percent of the U.S. population, which grew to 284.8 million in July 2001. That’s up from 12.5 percent, or 35.3 million of the country’s 281.4 million residents in April 2000.

Blacks make up 12.7 percent of the nation’s population, up from 12.6 percent in April 2000. The black population grew by 700,000 in the 15 months after the census was released.

Hispanics aren’t evenly distributed throughout the country, however; the census reports that in California they actually they make up a whopping 32.4% of the population, almost 2 1/2 times their nationwide proportion. So they must really be the biggest minority in California, right?

Well, no, as it turns out. “White persons, not of Hispanic/Latino origin” are 46.7% of Californians, making them a bigger minority than Hispanics. And “female persons” are 50.2%, which means male persons must be 49.8%.

So in California, despite all the progress minorities have made, the two biggest minorities are men and whites. It’s just another example of how in racist America, the white man always comes out on top.

15 May 2003

Pete Townshend Blasts Steve Winwood

“WHO: Traffic Is Four Times as Lethal as War”–headline, Reuters, May 14

10 July 2003

“A mother has been arrested on charges of trying to sell her 2-year-old son for $500 so she could buy OxyContin,” the Associated Press reports from Charleston, W.Va.:

The sale of a child was a misdemeanor in West Virginia until 1994, one year after a Charleston woman was convicted of trying to sell her 1-month-old baby to undercover officers for $1,400 so she could buy a mobile home. That led to a change in the law by the Legislature, which made the crime a felony.

This is a very troubling story. What could possibly account for such a steep decline in the value of a baby? It’s possible, we suppose, that West Virginia has had a sudden glut of babies, or was in the midst of a shortage in 1994. Still, from $1,400 to $500 is a decline of nearly 65%, and you’d think the redesignation of baby-selling as a felony would drive up the price, since the risk of felony prosecution is, in effect, an additional cost for baby retailers.

Then again, the $1,400 baby was only one month old, while the $500 one was two years old. Maybe it’s just that babies depreciate very quickly. The lesson here seems to be that although our children may be our future, they’re a lousy investment.

20 September 2003

Carl Miner of Blytheville, Ark., lost an election for a school-board seat. What makes this remarkable is that he was the only candidate. “No one voted for him–and the candidate didn’t even cast a ballot for himself,” reports KPOM-TV. “Officials say Tuesday was the first time in Mississippi County an entire precinct didn’t vote. . . . Miner says he tried to vote but the polling place near his zone was closed. He says he thinks he gets the seat because no one else was on the ballot.”

 22 January 2004

“Britain’s biggest-selling hiking magazine apologized Wednesday after its latest issue contained a route that would lead climbers off the edge of a cliff on Britain’s tallest peak,” the Associated Press reports from London.

15 April 2004

“Cop Wins Doughnut-Eating Contest”–headline,  

27 April 2004

And We Thought the Sun Had Been Burning for Billions of Years

“Solar Energy Celebrates 50th Anniversary”–headline, Associated Press

 17 May 2004

This Cat Has Seven Lives Left

“Sunday’s Plane Crash Is Pilot’s 2nd Fatal Accident”–headline, KOMO-TV Web site (Seattle)

18 May 2004

What a Surprise

“Body Discovered in Plainfield Cemetery”–headline, Courier News (Bridgewater, N.J.)


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